Gini Dietrich

How to Generate Blog Post Ideas

By: Gini Dietrich | September 30, 2014 | 
59

How to Generate Blog Post IdeasBy Gini Dietrich

I promised to give you more about my speech at Content Marketing World—How to Write Blog Posts that Get Read and Shared—and so I shall.

This is actually the third part of the six sections I covered in just 35 minutes (I talked really, really fast).

The first was Tricks to Write Popular Blog Posts and the second was How to Capture Blog Post Ideas.

Now I’d like to focus on how to generate blog post ideas (and the other three sections will come later).

How to Generate Blog Post Ideas

You know how you sit at your computer and you stare at your screen, wondering what brilliance you’ll conjure up in the next hour so you can make your publication time?

Yeah, me either.

That never happens to me. Nooooo.

But for those of you who do need some help with generating blog post ideas, I have five of my favorite tools for you.

talkwalker alerts

 

Talkwalker Alerts are my favorite! I like them so much better than Google alerts. The results are more accurate and much more timely. To use them to generate blog post ideas, create alerts for the types of things that you write about. For instance, I have alerts set up for “news in public relations,” “PR firms,” and “public relations trends.” This gives me lots of great fodder for blog post ideas, particularly if there is a crisis going on and I want to write a case study about it (hello, Union Street Guest House).

 

SmartBrief_logo_webSmartBrief newsletters are the bomb! They have hundreds of topics for you to choose from—so you can subscribe for retail or transportation or glue making factories—and they aggregate content from around the web for you. It’s really easy to scan these daily emails to find topics for your blog post ideas. It gives you a headline and a quick description and you can easily decide if it’s something you want to click on and read. I subscribe to entrepreneurs, leadership, and social media. I have a rule set up in email so they all get delivered to a separate folder and then, once a week, I go through and drop blog post ideas into WordPress from there. Boom, bang, done!

 

Read the CommentsRead the comments. There are many of you who so very kindly leave blog posts in the comments section. I love that! Not only does it give me extra fodder for blog post ideas, it typically has a differing point-of-view than my own. Davina Brewer (shown to the left here) often leaves very thoughtful, very interesting comments. In fact, in this comment alone, there are three different blog post ideas. Score one for Davina! If your blog doesn’t yet get these types of comments, never fear! I know the common mantra is not to read the comments—and I’d say that’s true on YouTube videos and national news stories—it doesn’t hurt to read the comments on your industry’s blogs and trade publication sites. You will find a plethora of blog post ideas in the comments.

 

Current Events Current events, if they match your editorial mission and aren’t taking advantage of someone’s death or another tragedy, can work really well for blog post ideas. For instance, when Yahoo! announced they were bringing everyone into one location and no longer allowed virtual workers, it was a hot button for me. We have been virtual for nearly three years so it was a current event that made sense for me to blog about. Be careful, though, of the 14 Things Joan Rivers Taught Me About Marketing posts if Joan Rivers never actually taught you anything about marketing.

 

Sent MailCheck your sent mail! A few weeks ago, in the span of just a week of one another, I had three young PR professionals email me asking for advice. What came of those email conversations was advice for those who want to build a PR firm. So many of us write and send emails all day long and we forget there is a great source of blog post ideas right there. Once a week, go in and review the emails you’ve sent to clients or to your colleagues and filter through for some blog post ideas. I’m willing to bet you can get at least one post a week from your sent mail.

So there you have it!

Five great ways to generate blog post ideas.

Now go forth and prosper. I expect great content out of each and every one of you.

Photo: Actual pages from my notebook on how I think through blog post topics.

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

  • ffmcardoso

    Great post, thanks! Very usefull for someone who’s starting his own blog. 🙂

  • ffmcardoso You’re very welcome! Let me know if you need other advice. I’ve made very mistake possible.

  • That is a LOT of content for 35 minutes!

    Also, I love the insight into your brain that looking at your notes gives … let’s just say they look very different than mine do.

  • Nothing like some insider tips from, Ms. ginidietrich! I’m really digging this SmartBrief!

  • bobledrew

    ginidietrich, Because of the quadrillions of neural connections interfacing with the outside environment through or sensory and perceptual systems, the number of mistakes available to be made is effectively infinite. But I have no doubt that you’ve made the most of anyone I know. ;-p

  • Matt_Cerms I love SmartBrief. Super easy to roll though and find fodder for content.

  • Eleanor Pierce And there are three more sections!

  • bobledrew Oh, I have made nearly every infinite mistake.

  • ginidietrich Giving the people their money’s worth. That’s #GiniStyle. (Can we make this a thing?)

  • elmayuga

    Hi Gini, I attended your session at CMWorld 2014 and you did an outstanding job covering these websites (plus many more) in the 35 minutes you were allowed. 

    Thank you for introducing me to Talkwalker alerts, which I have been A/B comparison testing against Google Alerts, and I agree with you that they are more accurate and timely. 

    One idea that I would like to add, is writing Morning Pages (http://lifehacker.com/write-morning-pages-by-hand-every-day-to-boost-produc-1623157620), which are three pages written in longhand every morning. I have been using this technique since August, and it has not only assisted me in organizing my day but has also helped my creative ideas flow for my blog posts. 

    I look forward to seeing you next week at the Marketing Profs B2B conference!

  • Eleanor Pierce ginidietrich Let’s make it a thing! #GiniStyle

  • ginidietrich ffmcardoso oh mistake-making — any of us who have been blogging for any length of time have done plenty of that! At least we (hopefully) learn from it…

  • I love this topic! I agree on the “sent mail” idea — it’s how I generated my “tips for new bloggers” post when a friend asked for advice. I also find potential blog post ideas sometimes when my comment (on Facebook for example) turns into more than “I agree” — if it becomes an extended opinion I can sometimes turn it into a post — and at times did not realize I felt strongly enough about a topic for it to be a post until I went on and on in someone’s comment box. Lastly, as a general personal blogger, I am frequently telling local businesses/causes that I’d be happy to write about them in my blog — it helps me get to know them a little better and the 1 and a half people who read the post learn more about them too! ;-).

  • I use my RSS feed for inspiration on other’s writing styles and relevant and timely topics. Sometimes, I even turn to Google News for ideas. But usually, my RSS feed is enough inspiration to spark a few ideas. 

    Apparently I had alerts set up on Talkwalker Alerts that were never sent out to me. I deleted them all and made new ones. Not sure why it didn’t work. There’s no way that there was no alerts found for “social media” or “web design” in a few months. We’ll see if these new alerts work!

  • ginidietrich Definitely! Really easy to use.

  • I love SmartBrief! I can’t wait to check out talkwalker!

  • Oh, and I also really love PR Daily.

  • Love Smartbrief and TalkWalker. Gini, you so smaht. 🙂

  • SocialMediaDC

    ginidietrich I definitely need to check this post out. Thanks for sharing!

  • Eleanor Pierce No!

  • elmayuga Huh! I do that every day, too, but had no idea it was a thing or had a name. Super, super cool. Thanks for sharing it! And let’s make sure we high five in Boston.

  • ginidietrich

    SocialMediaDC You bet!

  • belllindsay Fine. You can have a raise.

  • Jen Novotny PR Daily and Ragan are both good resources. Yes!

  • biggreenpen There is half a person who reads your blog? Am I the one or the half?!?

  • Kelsey Vere I hope they work! That’s odd they wouldn’t work the first time around.

  • ginidietrich biggreenpen of course you’re a whole ONE!! #ginistyle

  • The sent mail idea is brilliant! I never thought about that! I’ve also found I really love @getswayy for ideas, both the emails they send daily and the suggestions the offer through their plugin are really useful and normally trigger blog fodder

  • bobledrew

    ginidietrich belllindsay I think you’re both smart. Where’s my parade?

  • You can also go to your local video store and check out the movie titles. You might be surprised what ideas spring from walking through the sections there.

  • bobledrew

    ginidietrich elmayuga If you like Morning Pages, you might find 750words useful as well. It’s an online version of morning pages with some gamification added in for fun. I really like it. http://750words.com

  • biggreenpen Oh boy. LOL!!

  • SpinSucks

    LeslieMcLellan Thanks Leslie! ^ep

  • ginidietrich They definitely worked this time around! My email inbox has been bombed with keyword search results! Thanks again!

  • Excellent advice. I’m becoming quite the fan of talk walker and the smart briefs. Good fodder there.

  • bobledrew ginidietrich elmayuga This made me LOL: “I looked this up. 250 words per page is considered to be the standard accepted number of words per page. So, three standard pages are about 750 words. Of course if 750words.com hadn’t been available, I would’ve totally found a way to prove that 249 words per page was the accepted standard.”

  • Kelsey Vere Ha! Now you’re probably cursing my name.

  • bobledrew belllindsay Um…

  • TheJackB Or I just read your FB stream.

  • LauraPetrolino Swayy is another great idea!

  • ginidietrich  That might work too. I made a mistake and accidentally deleted the note from the person who said I shouldn’t have said I got a cellphone from Steve Jobs’ ghost because it was wrong.

    Wish I hadn’t dumped everything because that would have generated an entire blog post in response.

  • ClayMorgan <curtsy>

  • ginidietrich bobledrew elmayuga I use 750words and love it! This month I have found myself looking forward to pre-dawn time with that blank page and cursor. One day I will work the Artist’s Way. I think I made it through two weeks of that program on my last attempt, but it’s something to aspire to! That would be another way for your readers to kickstart creativity when topics temporarily stop flowing.

  • elmayuga

    bobledrew ginidietrich I like 750words and I will use it while I’m traveling for business, because I sometimes forget to bring my journal. Thank you for sharing!

    There is something elegant, though, about using a fine writing instrument or fountain pen and writing in cursive. I heard that some elementary schools aren’t teaching cursive script anymore, which is a shame.

  • bobledrew

    elmayuga Agreed. I love pens and journals. Am currently mourning the loss of a journal I bought in Pisa in 2010 and a Parker 51 that was the last birthday gift my mom bought me.

  • I generally have an issue with having more ideas than I can write haha However, now you’ve given some great advice so that I can have even more. That’s kind of scary. ;0 Sharing this with fellow writers. Thanks!

  • Lyn Lomasi LYN! How the heck are you?!?

  • ginidietrich Lyn Lomasi Long time no see, huh? I’m good. Still around. I’ve just been busy building my network. 🙂

  • ginidietrich

    Talkwalker i heart you guys

  • Talkwalker

    ginidietrich i havent had the chance to ask your opinion about Talkwalker ‘Social Search’ yet http://www.talkwalker.com have you tried it yet?

  • ginidietrich

    Talkwalker I haven’t tried it yet. Sadly. I’m traveling so all that stuff has been put on hold.

  • Talkwalker

    ginidietrich Travelling? That’s not sad, it’s awesome 🙂 ok well let me know when you’re back and i will show it to you! ^Julie

  • ginidietrich

    Talkwalker OK! I will!

  • SocialKimH

    ginidietrich Check your email! Great advice. #blogging

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